New zero waste pattern: Optimatium dress

Hi Everyone! I have a new zero waste pattern. Introducing the Optimatium dress.

The pattern is in Tauko magazine, Issue #9.

The theme of the magazine’s issue is Blue. My take on the theme was “Blue can be conservative, in a good way”, and Optimatium is a conservative dress. Optimatium is Latin for conservative or the best, and the dress optimizes the fabric because it’s zero waste.

Optimatium can be worn as a buttoned up dress or open as a flowing duster coat. It has in-seam pockets, a scooped hemline, gently pleated cuffs, a high neckline and optional bust darts. The length of the body and sleeves can be changed without affecting zero waste.

I submitted this design to Tauko magazine back at the very beginning of the year, and have been wanting to share it with you, but of course I had to keep my mouth shut!

A tiny drawing scanned from my sketchbook, showing the very beginning of the design process. It had a bit of a “prairie” vibe!
Layout-wise, there’s an evolution from the basic tessellated dress/coat in the Zero Waste Sewing book.

The size range is graded to Tauko’s size chart:

Tauko have a Make and Share for each issue, where makers choose a pattern from an upcoming issue and share piccys of it when the magazine comes out. Four talented makers (below) picked Optimatium, and for some it was a first time with zero waste.

A really fun dress by @shelburyuk, and love it with those mustard tights!

@hsudolly’s looks beautiful in blue. I think this would look great worn open as a duster.

Some great styling ideas by @brigittes_hobbys (flick through to see):

@sewfreshness made it as a top! Why did I not think of this??

Cheers! Liz

UPDATE: two more Make and Shares which slipped under my radar: (Unfortunately WordPress wouldn’t let me embed this, so here is the link.) Lots of great layering ideas from Toni of @sewletitbedone.

Shirley of @spworkspace made some substantial changes and came up with a summery 3/4 sleeve dress. Do take a look at Shirley’s Instagram for some really great homesewn outfits.


  1. Rachel on October 31, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    This is lovely – a more structured and detailed take on the dress/duster. I’ve got a Birgitta Helmersson zero-waste dress that I wear a lot, but this looks like a good winter alternative.

    • lizhaywood on November 1, 2023 at 8:50 am

      Thank you Rachel.
      Birgitta’s dress is a great pattern.

  2. Michelle on November 1, 2023 at 1:06 am

    Brilliant! Do you think a light weight corduroy would be suitable? I have a beautiful Liberty of London corduroy I’ve been saving.

    • lizhaywood on November 1, 2023 at 8:48 am

      No unfortunately, it won’t work with napped fabrics because the front and back are top-and-tailed.

  3. Adele Fletcher on November 2, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Wow! A ZW coat or a dress or a top. One pattern piece. With darts, pleats and gathers. That is all kinds of awesome.

    • lizhaywood on November 2, 2023 at 10:03 pm

      Many thanks, Adele 🙂

  4. Michelle on November 3, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    @sewfrehness’s edit makes me think this would be a great maternity pattern – a dress or a top or a coat to grow with you and nursing friendly when the buttons (and zero waste!!!)

    • lizhaywood on November 4, 2023 at 8:39 pm

      Yes, excellent idea, it would be great for maternity – the front horizontal seam could easily be moved higher if needed, and it could be adapted to have extra front pleats.

  5. Denise on November 6, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    I was interested in your new pattern but felt that it was a bit expensive as it looked like you had to buy the whole magazine. I did subscribe to Tauko’s newsletter and in return received free the Leija pants pattern from Tauko’s 7th edition. I decided to try out that pattern and was quite pleased with the result, however when I was cutting out the fabric I was shocked at how much fabric was wasted. I think that after making a few of your zero waste patterns that I have become much more aware of wasting fabric. I used to think that I was frugal with fabric, but now I realise that I still have a way to go. Thanks Liz for raising my consciousness about fabric waste.

    • lizhaywood on November 6, 2023 at 4:07 pm

      Zero waste ruins you for regular patterns, doesn’t it!
      Next year the copyright for the dress will revert to me, and I’ll publish it in the same way as other pdf patterns. Tauko is an expensive magazine, more like a book, but really a very economical way to buy patterns if you intend to make at least 2 things or more.

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